Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Media Manipulation & gaslighting. Why would a media org run articles with opposing views on the same day?

Twitter thread by:

A. Based on a tweet this morning (September 10, 2021) about why a media organisation would run 2 pieces today with completely opposite points of view on lockdowns, here’s a thread about why they do this.

It’s absolutely crucial to understand this if we want to demand (and get) better media in AUS.
B. Firstly, it’s really helpful to watch the movie “Gaslight”, as it’s hard to understand the gaslighting concept otherwise.
We can briefly explain it but that’s not a replacement for watching the movie or reading deeply about gaslighting. Gaslighting is when a person is …

C. … taught to doubt the evidence of their own senses. It is NOT simply lying, although many confuse gaslighting with lying, which is unhelpful as it means people have NFI what it really means. Lying is far more simple than gaslighting, since if a person continually ..

D. … lies, they’ll be found out and nobody will longer believe anything they say. Gaslighting is far more complex. In the movie, a woman is married to a man who wants her committed to a mental asylum so he can use her money without obstruction. So he makes things happen …

E. … so he can tell her they didn’t happen. The most obvious example is he finds a way to (spoiler alert) make the gas lights flicker/dim in their home, but tells her they aren’t dimming. After a while, she believes his assertion she’s going mad (parlance of that time).

F. The crucial thing is his gaslighting of her is INTERMITTENT. Sometimes he lies, other times he doesn’t. You can’t understand gaslighting unless you fully understand that it doesn’t work unless it isn’t constant. In fact, it’s crucial a gaslighter keeps trust with a victim.

G. Unless there is a relationship and trust, a victim will wake up to what’s happening to them. Once a gaslighter has trust, they can THEN lie (but not too much or all the time) and the victim will think THEY are the problem. Even worse, the gaslighter will make the victim …

H. … feel really bad and guilty if they accuse the gaslighter of lying. This is the manipulation and abuse part. Eventually, a gaslighted person gives up and believes they are stupid or even have serious mental health problems. In the movie it gets very close to this.

I. What happens when an entire nation is gaslighted by its media? See, bad leaders & their business mates can’t damage a country without willing accomplices: THE MEDIA. Be aware we aren’t talking about ALL media here, nor are we saying all journos are abusers, gaslighters ..

J. … or anything but good people. But we do believe most media orgs in AUS right now practice regular gaslighting behaviours, and some are deliberate and outrageous masters at it. Sometimes they call it “balance” or “seeing both sides”, and some journos actually seem to …

K. … believe this is reasonable. However, gaslighting is NOT THE SAME as balance. Because balance is when both views are presented AT THE SAME TIME, which is not generally what the media are doing now when they present news and current affairs. What the commercial media …

L. … do in AUS is to flood their publishing/shows with poor info, then throw in an occasional factual piece. Then when people criticise them for lies, they can point to the good pieces to show they’re not liars. This keeps consumers in a constant state of not knowing ..

M. … if they’re good or bad, and keeps people tuned in to see what they do next. THAT’S THE CRUCIAL PART: all this is just about retaining consumers. Commercial media orgs can’t operate without advertising dollars. Yet the needs/wants of their advertisers are diametrically ..

N. … opposed to what most consumers want (esp. since #COVID19, which is why all this seems worse since early 2020). The only way a commercial media org can balance those 2 competing interests is to repeatedly gaslight consumers of their media.

O. Essentially, media really only care about companies (advertisers) but are required to keep consumers on a string by publishing truth from time to time. This is as bad (or worse) as those who gaslight in personal relationships, and is done for exactly the same reason.

P. It keeps people off balance. It keeps true motives hidden. It makes people doubt what they think they see and hear. It creates outrage, which is link clicks. It gives plausible deniability. And it keeps both dollars flowing in PLUS keeps the populace consuming that media.

Q. We are ALL being manipulated constantly by the media for power and money. 
As we said: we believe most individual journos don’t even understand the machine they’re part of. Most are decent people so this isn’t about most of them (some are just evil, but that’s another story).

R. The ABC and other media not heavily reliant on advertising dollars are different, but we’ll leave that to another day (if people are interested). The guts of what we’re saying is this: it’s more or less impossible to reform commercial media. Their needs and interests are ..

S. … in COMPLETE CONTRAST to the needs and interests of the public they claim to serve. Those contrasts cannot be reconciled at any level. That’s why they need to gaslight us constantly, because there’s no solution and no way to keep both groups happy.

T. Once people get this, they can start to get why complaining about bad media is pretty much useless. NOTHING will reform them except (a): strong media law reform and/or (b): forcing them to change or go out of business via consumer boycotts. The second path is what MFW do.

U. We must force media orgs to see that they’ll get more revenue/profit from doing what consumers demand than what they will from doing what their advertisers demand. It’s that simple. The only reason it’s NOT simple is that people don’t understand their collective power.

V. We CAN refuse to be gaslit. We CAN force them to be better, by refusing to give any money to their advertisers while they refuse to change. If tens of thousands of Aussies did this, we would change the media landscape overnight. Literally. NO MORE GASLIGHTING.

W. With the App we’re designing, we can take AUS back from media orgs who install the leaders big business want in power, and then gaslight us into believing we have the govts we deserve. It’s actually not that difficult. And it’s the ONLY thing that’ll work short/medium term.

X. If this tweet thread has given you any insight, please chuck us five bucks (or more if you can afford it). We’ll use this money to create and staff a website and App which will fuck up Murdoch, and then the others who are all gaslighting us into future death and oblivion.

Y. Don’t doubt this is one of the most important things we can collectively do for the future of a country which is at a dangerous crossroads. Thanks for reading:

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